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Little scream pierces big silence

Not desh bhakt but poison: Girl

Pakhi Jain addresses the meeting

New Delhi: Several speakers choked when they recited poems on the child who was gang-raped in Kathua. But none had a more profound impact at the Not in My Name protest on Sansad Marg in New Delhi on Sunday than 15-year-old Pakhi Jain when she read out her "scream".

"Shame on those people who are defending the rapist just because of his religion and political party. Shame on you! After all that happened to her, you still can't see the girl but only see her religion," said the student from Mater Dei School, who has just given her Class X board exams.

Reducing some in the audience to tears, Pakhi concluded by reading out a line from the immortal speech by Martin Luther King, Jr, and adding a few of her own. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up.... I have a dream that no girl, no woman will be tortured or molested or raped in future.... I have a dream that humanity will be the supreme religion of this nation one day."

Several such protests were held across the country on Sunday. Later, Pakhi told The Telegraph: "I have been disturbed since Gauri Lankesh (the Bangalore-based journalist) was killed. We are scared to even write about the BJP on Facebook. Earlier, it never mattered what our friends' surnames were. Now people ask if they are Hindu or Muslim."

A page from Pakhi Jain’s speech. Pictures by Pheroze L Vincent

The following are excerpts from Pakhi's speech:

• I don't know what to write and how to express the scream I am feeling.... But still I will try my best to write every screaming thought running inside by brain and paint the ink of my heart on these crumpled pages....

• I remember that night when I got to know about Gauri Lankesh's death... uske ek din baad... mera exam tha.... Yes, indeed, I was writing about democracy but unfortunately, I was unable to feel that in my own country. I believe that today if I am able to speak up that is just because of my Constitution. I wish I could have written in my exam about how India is changing, how we are not free, how people are feeling insecure living in a democratic nation instead of writing what was written in our course books.

• The same feeling encountered me while I was giving my board exams. Questions did come asking me about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but was I really free to write whatever I wanted?

Pahli baar aisa ho raha hai ki someone is asking for the religious identities of the girl who was raped and the one who raped her. Kya ho gaya hai hum ko? Are we still humanists? Do we still have hearts? Itna sab hone ke baad tum uska dharam pooch rahe ho ? Is religious identity and the political party all that matters to you? ...

• Please don't take this lightly. If you are happily sitting in your homes ignoring the protest and the voice you have and feeling that you are safe, don't forget that this safety and happiness will not stay with you forever. It is so shameful and if you are doing all this, please don't be proud of it. You are killing humanity.

• I was watching the news and somebody did call this protest a fashion walk. They said people are taking selfies while doing the protest. But believe me! I was actually glad that people are taking selfies or making videos while doing the protest and not while painting Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar's statue with the orange colour of hatred. It is not the fault of the orange colour... but the dominating conspiracy behind destroying the truth of the very shade of colour.

• If killing people according to your religion is what you call (the work of) patriots, ya phir so-called 'desh bhakt', then I am sorry, I must say that you are poison to humanity.

• Parents, please don't stop your children. I know you are scared. In fact, everyone is! But we are with each other.... Hum agar abhi in sab cheezon ko nahi rokenge to shayad democracy, freedom, pyar, dosti aur equality jaise shabd sirf copy-kitabon mein hi padne ke liye rah jayenge ....

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